August 1, 2003
With a month or so of gay weddings behind us, society seems to still be limping along as well as it ever has. My marriage seems to have the same value as it did a few months ago, and contrary to the few hysterics who wondered where it would all end, so far no one is demanding that its also their constitutional right to be allowed to marry their favourite mule.
Ive never really understood the argument that allowing gay weddings somehow tarnishes the institution of marriage. We heterosexuals have done a fine job of that all on our own. With divorce, extra-marital affairs, spousal abuse and more than a few people walking down the aisle with clenched teeth, the straight world hasnt really set much of an example.
As for God being unhappy with homosexuality, I cant say, although there has never been any shortage of people who claim to know exactly what Hes thinking on any given subject. I do know the same chapter of the Bible that forbids homosexuality also says that fortune tellers should be stoned to death, which will come as a bit of a shock to the person who writes the astrology column for this paper.
My general philosophy - as in most things - is pretty simple. If you dont believe in gay marriage, then dont go out and get married to someone of the same sex. Its not like its mandatory for straight people.
Unfortunately, some gay couples may not feel the same way. There are reports that ministers performing gay weddings are counselling some same-sex couples to take some time to cool off and not rush themselves to the altar. Rushing into marriage is exactly what keeps the divorce lawyers so busy.
If I was a suspicious person, Id almost think that the whole idea of permitting same-sex marriages was a devious plot to sow discord among the gay community. In a stroke, it takes away the last excuse some gay men and women had to keep their free and unencumbered lifestyle. Its like a married mans divorce finally coming through, and now he has no excuse not to marry his mistress. With marriage suddenly available to them, gay couples who have happily cohabited for twenty or more years are now facing a new relationship test that has been the death of many heterosexual couples - put up or shut up.
There are ultimatums being delivered in Canada right now across tastefully decorated coffee tables: "I stood by you through your disco phase, your Freddie Mercury moustache phase and your Will and Grace phase, and now youre going to make an honest man of me. So you march right down to City Hall and bring me back a marriage license."
If thats not enough to put a strain on gay couples, theres the stress of planning a wedding itself - the invitations, the china, the relatives, the little net bags full of inedible almonds. Then theres the seating plan, making sure Aunt Agatha isnt anywhere near her ex, and Uncle Bert isnt anywhere near either the bar or the microphone. Couples have called it quits over the flower arrangements alone.
The institution of marriage isnt in danger. If anything, I think its the gay community thats at risk.